By Jonathan Benedek/TPS
Jerusalem (TPS) – In light of a recently discovered road illegally built in Area C (territory in Judea and Samaria under full Israeli control), the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Subcommittee on Judea and Samaria convened this morning to discuss the continued illegal Palestinian construction financed by the European Union.
“There is a serious reality of illegal Arab construction of hundreds of thousands of buildings on state lands in Area C of Judea and Samaria,” said Subcommittee Chairman MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home) as he began the discussion. “This is simply terrorist construction by the Palestinian Authority, funded by EU countries, amounting to 110 million euros a year.”
Yogev also accused the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria of failing to prevent the illegal construction. “The Civil Administration is operating with neglect or, more accurately, not operating at all. It is not exercising its control and it is abandoning the area,” charged MK Yogev.
The subcommittee chairman also spoke out against what he viewed as unequal treatment of illegal Jewish construction versus illegal Palestinian construction.
“There is just lawlessness and a lack of proportionality on the part of the Judea and Samaria legal counsel and the enforcement agencies,” contended MK Yogev.
“If we were talking about illegal Jewish construction, it would have been enforced a long time ago,” he continued. “In practice, illegal Jewish construction percentage levels are lower by hundreds of percentage points yet Jewish construction is more strictly enforced while almost nothing is done to stop illegal Palestinian construction.”
Civil Administration Deputy Commander Colonel Uri Mendes disputed MK Yogev’s claim that the Civil Administration applies disproportionate standards to the handling of illegal construction.
“We are not ignoring any illegal construction,” Mendes stressed. “We are operating according to the law. We respond to and destroy any illegal construction that has no temporary court injunction.”
Colonel Mendes referred to a recent instance when the Civil Administration destroyed illegally constructed buildings financed by the European Union. “Just last week, we destroyed five buildings and confiscated a number of tents that were financed by the European Union,” Mendes said.
Meanwhile, other MKs joined MK Yogev in speaking out against the illegal Palestinian construction that has been sponsored by the European Union.
“This illegal Palestinian construction is a flagrant violation of the agreements signed by the EU,” said MK Michael Oren (Kulanu), a former Israeli Ambassador to the US. “This is a blatant attempt by the Europeans to force the establishment of a Palestinian state without negotiations.”
”We have a right and a duty to prevent this,” continued Oren. ”If we do not act against this massive project, then we will be confronted with an impossible situation.”
Likud MK Amir Ohana concurred on the need to immediately address the European Union over the issue in light of the European Commission’s recent decision to label Jewish-Israeli products from Judea and Samaria. “We here in Israel must call out the European Union and destroy their illegal projects now of all times while it is labeling us.”